Google Trends data reveals that in the past year, the U.S. searched for Black-owned businesses more than ever before,1 as search interest for black artists and black leaders more than doubled.2 Generation after generation, Black Americans have pushed society forward, and the stories of these innovators continue to inspire. This Black History Month, we celebrate the lasting legacy of Black pioneers and support the next generation of leaders.
In the past 12 months, U.S. searches for black owned businesses have skyrocketed 600% over the year before.2
Searching and supporting Black-owned
Some legacies are created one plate at a time. When Irene and Clint Cleaves opened the Four Way Grill – now the Four Way Restaurant – in 1946, their dream was to serve the best soul food in Memphis. It is unlikely they ever imagined the lasting legacy the Four Way would come to have in their community and the world. In the early 1960s, the Four Way was one of a few places in Memphis where Black and white diners regularly sat together. Later, the restaurant became a home for leaders of the civil rights movement. As the Four Way enters its 75th year, current owner Patrice Bates Thompson continues the Cleaves’ legacy of serving love on a plate to people from all walks of life. Today and every day, Google is proud to support the legacy of Black-owned, helping millions of customers connect directly with businesses through Search and Maps. Search Black-owned businesses near you.
Show love and support for your local Black-owned businesses.
Patrice Bates Thompson, owner of The Four Way Restaurant, and her husband, Jerry Thompson.
Dedicated Four Way employees are the heart of the business.
Expanding support for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs
As COVID-19 has created an economic crisis for businesses across America, Black-owned businesses have faced closure at twice the rate of white-owned businesses.3Alongside the Black-owned attribute, which business owners can add to their profiles to make it easier for customers to find and support them, we are providing $50 million in loans and Google.org grants to help Black small businesses, building on our existing $130 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grants. Likewise, the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund announced $5 million in cash awards to 76 inspiring founders, enabling them to secure funds without giving up any ownership in their companies.Beyond monetary aid, Google seeks to elevate the next generation of legacy makers with mentorship programs like the Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders and the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program, providing Black-owned businesses and startups in the U.S. the tools, networking, and training they need to grow.
Grow with Google's Digital Coaches program has expanded to 8 new cities, providing free digital skills training and coaching to small businesses across the U.S.
Old School Boxing and Fitness Center, San Diego boxing gym founded by U.S. Marine veteran Ernest Johnson
Celsious, Brooklyn eco-friendly laundromat founded by sisters Corinna and Theresa Williams
Woodward Throwbacks, Detroit upcycle furniture and decor store founded by Bo Shepherd and Kyle Dubay
LoanWell, cloud-based business-to-business lending platform co-founded by Bernard Worthy in Durham, NC, and one of 76 U.S. recipients of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund
People in the U.S. searched for black artists more over the last year than ever before.1
Celebrating the history and future of Black American art
Go behind the scenes of the Audre Lorde Doodle for U.S. Black History Month 2021, illustrated by LA-based guest artist Monica Ahanonu
Black American art has a long history of pushing boundaries. In 1773, Phillis Wheatley made way for others when she became the first published Black American author. A century later, Edmonia Lewis – one of the first well-known Black American sculptors – and Henry Ossawa Tanner – an early Black American painter – continued challenging 19th-century social norms. By the 20th century, pioneers like Gordon Parks – the first major Black American photographer and Hollywood director – were spreading Black stories to a wider audience.
Each of these people, and countless others, left legacies that empower. Today, Black artists capture global attention, and the dramatic rise in search interest for black artists shows the demand for Black voices.
Google Arts & Culture is partnering with 80+ collections across the U.S. to celebrate and share stories of Black history, culture, and creativity.
U.S. Google Doodles created in partnership with Black guest artists over the years. Starting at the top, from left to right: Carter G. Woodson (illustrated by Shannon Wright), Sojourner Truth (Loveis Wise), Jackie Ormes (Liz Montague), and Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020 (Dr. Fahamu Pecou)
Supporting Black communities means celebrating their arts and culture. This year’s Google Doodle honoring Black History Month explores the life and work of Audre Lorde, a Black writer, feminist, and civil rights activist who challenged and explored Black female identity while also highlighting the importance of intersectionality in conversations around injustice and inequity.
Google Doodles often highlight the stories of both well-known and overlooked historical figures, events, and places, but we also look to partner with guest artists who are becoming cultural forces in their own right. Monica Ahanonu, the guest artist for the Lorde Doodle, depicts beauty in many forms. Through her work, she seeks to show how everyone belongs – regardless of where they come from or what they look like.Throughout its history, the Doodle program has worked with hundreds of guest artists, including Richie Pope, Shannon Wright, Loveis Wise, Karen Collins, Cannaday Chapman, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, and Liz Montague, partnering specifically with Black artists in the U.S. and around the globe for moments depicting Black history, culture, and beyond.
Diversify Photo and Black Disabled Creatives use Google tools to amplify the voices of Black artists, helping them build their connections and find new opportunities.
In the past 12 months, the U.S. searched black leaders more than ever before.1
The next generation of pioneers
Knowledge is power. When Alexander Twilight graduated in 1823, he became the first Black American to earn a degree from an American university. A few decades later, in 1850, Lucy S.D. Sessions became the first Black American woman to complete a four-year collegiate course. After, she fought for abolitionism, leaving a legacy that inspired future Black feminists.
But for most of Black America, following in their footsteps was not possible. Before Cheyney University – the first historically Black institute in the U.S. – was founded in 1837, most Black Americans were denied access to collegiate institutions. Not long after its founding, Cheyney University became a center of higher Black learning. Nearly 200 years later, over 100 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are educating more than 250,000 students. Across every field, Black America’s educational pursuits create a legacy of pioneers.Google is committed to helping foster future Black leaders. We are partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness program, which will provide digital skills training for 20,000 students at 20 HBCUs – eventually, we seek to expand this to all 100+ HBCUs in America. These build on many other educational initiatives – from CS First to Career Certificates – uplifting students and learners of all ages.
NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) participants touring Google offices
Grow with Google is partnering with The Links, Inc., Dress for Success, and four National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities to grow digital skills for 100,000 Black women across the U.S.
In 2020, we also announced a $3 million Google.org grant, as well as volunteering support from the Black Googler Network, to help scale the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO). As part of this grant, NAACP will double ACT-SO participation from 30,000 to 70,000+ high school students over three years, kickstarting student journeys to becoming leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), humanities, business, and the arts.
1. Based on Google Trends data as of Jan 2021, when comparing Google Search interest from Jan 2020 - Dec 2020 to Jan 2004 – Dec 2019.
2. Based on Google Trends data as of Jan 2021,when comparing Google Search interest during Jan 2020 - Dec 2020 to Jan 2019 - Dec 2019.
3. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 2020.
Fostering future change makers
The next generation of Black innovators will not wait, and we won’t ask them to. As a company, we know we have far to go, but we are committed to creating real change. Black history is happening now – here’s to the next generation of legacy makers.